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63 Candidates Line Up For 2017 Race To The LA

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- The finally tally after nominations closed Wednesday for the May 2017 General Election was 63 candidates.

This included 15 Progressives, eleven running with the Cayman Democratic Party and 37 people declaring themselves as independent candidates, including the current education minister, who has not, contrary to speculation throughout the day, joined the PPM. While the number of candidates is quite significant, it is not as many as some people had anticipated, given the change to the voting system.

There are at least two candidates in all of the new nineteen constituencies, so there will be no free rides to the Legislative Assembly.

The most popular constituency ended up being George Town South, where five candidates have declared: one from each of the parties and three independents. In three constituencies — West Bay Central, George Town Central and Cayman Brac East — voters will have a choice between just two candidates, but in all the rest there are either three or four.

Although there were a few political surprises from the parties, especially the PPM, most of the candidates who were expected to contest the elections turned up for nomination in the seats where they had indicated on previous occasions they planned to run.

According to Elections Supervisor Wesley Howell, Nomination Day ran very smoothly. Speaking to the press soon after nominations closed and the candidates were lined up, he explained that the next step for his team was to check the qualifications of all of the candidates before confirming the field by Friday. Other than a couple of operational questions, Howell said there were no problems at all.

Howell said that 38 staff from the Elections Office, two at each venue, registered the nominations at 17 venues on Grand Cayman and two on Cayman Brac. This was the first time that candidates were nominated in single-member electoral districts and Howell said he was “pleased at the efficient operations during the whole nominations process”, as he thanked the staff for their hard work.

The next major task for the office is preparing the mobile and postal ballots. He said voters were already applying for postal voting and the office would be printing ballots as soon as the qualification of candidates was cleared.